Google offers free digital photo software

One week after announcing that it had snapped up Picasa, Google is promoting the acquired company on its home page, encouraging users to "download Picasa from Google" for free.

On Tuesday, Google's home page was offering downloads of the Picasa version 1.6 software, which allows users to transfer, organize, edit, print and share digital photos. The download is 3.6M bytes in size and compatible with Microsoft's Windows only, according to information posted on the Google site.

Google revealed that it had bought the software maker last Tuesday for an undisclosed sum. At the time, company representatives would not disclose when or how Picasa's technology would be further integrated with Google's offerings. Google said it had already incorporated some of Picasa's technology for publishing and sharing photos into its Blogger service last May.

Picasa had been selling version 1.6 of its software for US$29, according to information posted on the company's Web site last week.

The company also runs a peer-to-peer network for sharing digital photos called Hello.

Hello is not mentioned on Google's Picasa software download page. The Hello site is still up at www.hello.com.

Google representatives in the U.K. weren't immediately available to comment on the Picasa software download or on whether the product would be further integrated into other Google offerings.

Google's purchase of the digital photo assets adds to the search giant's growing war chest of products and services. Some analysts have speculated that the company is ramping up its offerings, with free e-mail service Gmail, an updated Blogger and ramped-up search functions, in anticipation of a lucrative initial public offering (IPO) in coming months.

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